During our time spent in Chicago, IL we stayed with my good friend Megan Cline! Megan has a long history with Moth Oddities. She has been around since the beginning, making appearances as a Contributing Artist as well as a Featured Traveler in our Wanderlust Collection! She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a focus in printmaking. During our stay in Chicago, Megan gave us a tour of her new studio space and let us take a peek at her current projects. Read our Q+A below to learn more!
Tell us more about your new studio space!
I recently got a studio space with Autotelic Studios, which is a non-profit that takes alternative spaces in Chicago and develops them into creative workspaces for artists. This space isn’t just about providing a workplace, but focuses on developing a community of artists. Being a part of a community like this is so important to me. I currently have a communal studio space. Everyone involved has their own designated spots, but the floor plan is very open so there is a nice balance of a sense of belonging but having moments of peace.
What are some things you like about the studio space?
Having a studio space allows for my work to breathe more by being in an open environment. I also love having access to certain amenities like a wood shop and a future screen-printing studio. Having these resources allows me to be more interdisciplinary and cross over different mediums.
What are you inspired by?
I’m fascinated by the idea of substitution. Specifically how one develops a space through repurposing obtainable objects in order to create a new, maybe even typically unobtainable space. I love seeing other people’s homes because I think this is the one space where a person has the full ability to alter and develop based on their needs. You can learn a lot about people simply by seeing how they've put time and care into their homes. I love the contrast of synthetic objects vs. handmade, almost clumsy objects. It reflects a need for change.
Do you collaborate with other artists? If so, who? and how so?
I love to collaborate as it pushes the boundaries that I sometimes force my work into. I am currently collaborating with artist Michelle Miller. She makes dynamic and graphic screen prints composed of an incredible amount of layering. Her prints are a contrast to my more delicate and organic work. She’s been so generous to donate uneditioned prints to my collage materials. The addition of these elements has been really successful. The next step of the collaboration will involve her making a screen print in response to my collages, which I’m very eager to see, because this will allow for this to spiral into a sort of back-and-forth visual conversation.
What are you working on in your new studio space?
Along with the current collages I’m working on with Michelle, I am also focusing on sculpture. Both relate to one another and center around repurposing, but my sculpture is more about a specific space, while my collages are more about developing unseen spaces.
Describe your most recent projects.
The collages I’m working on utilize found imagery from design and luxury magazines. I assemble them onto window screen mesh.
Mesh, an object found in almost every home, serves an important purpose of controlling what goes in and out. However, it is an object we often overlook. For the collages, I want to construct new architectural landscapes and environments. I do so by repurposing the relatable images from the magazines of objects that we are often told we should have by our commercial society.
The current sculpture that I’m working on focuses on the ideas of luxury and design and getting away with a 'fake'.
In a more straightforward way, I’m mimicking a smaller version of a marble column by constructing together wood, cardboard, and an adhesive paper that imitates the look of marble, but naturally (and purposefully for the sake of the concept) the result is unstable.
As a response to its instability, I chose to create a landing pad for the column in case it were to collapse. The landing pad is designed of a foam mattress pad, an easily accessible and functional material, covered with hunting camo fabric. Using the hunting camo fabric was a way for me to take a familiar pattern (I have seen it often in my father’s home) and alter it to add an entirely different design to a functional object. Overall, the column, a representation for luxury, is a desire so strong that I would rather have a cheap, unstable, substitution and develop a way of securing it, instead of than not having it at all.
Where do you plan to display these projects?
My current projects aren’t site specific, but I’m in the process of developing display ideas based on my apartment. It is not about the idea of putting art in my home, but having a conversation about the quirks and frustrations of developing a space specific to me and my needs.
How do you support the local artist community?
Whenever possible I attend art opening receptions and local sales. I also plan to contribute more to developing programs with the Autotelic Studios.
What other artists influence your work?
I love Rachel Harrison’s use of assemblage of found/readymade objects and the handmade. By taking ordinary items and assembling them into completely unique forms, she makes very unidentifiable objects that still somehow feel relatable. Her work demands presence in a space. I love how she focuses on not allowing the work to have a front, instead every aspect and angle is important for creating a different reaction.
How would you say that traveling has affected your work?
I recently went on a four month backpacking trip where I was very nomadic. I feel that the trip focused my desire on developing spaces because there was a certain longing for a home of my own. To me traveling is incredibly important, not just to learn about others, but it forces you to test yourself and see what you can and cannot live without.